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Grammy Awards: Tyla's big win and other moments

 South African star Tyla had a big night at the 66th annual Grammy Awards [Courtesy, Getty]

South African star Tyla had a big night at the 66th annual Grammy Awards, winning the Best African Music Performance award amid stiff competition.

She beat out celebrated African artistes Davido and Burna Boy to take home the enviable accolade for her hit track Water.

The young singer looked beautiful as she accepted the award, glistening in a shimmery green custom Versace gown.

“Oh my gosh guys, this is crazy. I never thought I’d say I won a Grammy at 22 years old,” Tyla said.

“Last year God decided to change my whole life; so thank you so much to God, to my team, my family, I know my mother is somewhere crying in here!” she added, setting the crowd off in laughter, before expressing gratitude to the Academy for the category.

The Grammy Awards has been described as music’s biggest night, and honours the best recordings, compositions, and artistes as chosen by The Recording Academy.

 Tyla [Courtesy, Getty]

“The mission of The Recording Academy is to recognize excellence in the recording arts and sciences, cultivate the well-being of the music community, and ensure that music remains an indelible part of our culture,” a statement on the official Grammys website reads.

Tyla winning her first ever Grammy was no easy fete, she not only came up against Burna Boy and Davido, but sensational rising superstars Ayra Starr (Nigeria), Olamide (Nigeria) and Musa Keys (South Africa).

Music In Africa reports: “Burna Boy, who led Africa’s contingent heading into the awards with four nominations, failed to bag a win. In addition to losing the Best African Music category to Tyla, he missed out on the Best Global Music Performance Award, losing to ‘Pashto’ by Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Zakir Hussain featuring Rakesh Chaurasia, and on the Best Global Album Award, which went to Shakti’s ‘The Moment’. He also lost in the Best Melodic Rap Performance category to Lil Durk’s ‘All My Life’ featuring J Cole.”

 Burna Boy lights up the stage at The Grammys [Courtesy, Getty]

The Best African Music Performance is a new category, one that The Grammys added this year alongside two others, Best Alternative Jazz Album and Best Pop Dance Recording.

“These history-making category additions are part of a larger set of updates and amendments, which go into effect immediately at the 2024 Grammys, aimed at making the Grammy Awards process "more fair, transparent and accurate", according to Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr.”

National Public Radio(NPR) has criticized the representation in the nominee list for the Best African Music Performance category this year, arguing that only the two most mainstream African pop styles were represented- Afrobeats and Amapiano.

“And though there are an estimated 2,000-plus "living languages" across Africa, the lyrics for all seven nominated songs are either entirely in English or largely contain English words,” the report notes.

“The nominees have other commonalities. They're all based in cities and hail from either Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy, or South Africa, the continent's third largest economy. Those two nations together account for nearly 20 per cent of the nominations historically in the Grammys global categories.”

The event was hosted by South African comedian Trevor Noah for a fourth time.

The celebrated American singer Taylor Swift made history, bagging the Album of The Year, becoming the first artiste to win the album of the year four times.

 The celebrated American singer Taylor Swift made history, bagging the Album of The Year [Courtesy, Getty]

“The superstar had previously been tied on three best album wins with Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon and Frank Sinatra. She received the prize from Celine Dion, who made an unexpected appearance amid health fears. Swift also used the event to reveal a surprise new album,” BBC Entertainment reports.

Time Magazine notes: “Swift beat out stiff competition in SZA’s SOS, Miley Cyrus’ Endless Summer Vacation, The Age of Pleasure by Janelle Monáe, Olivia Rodrigo’s GUTS, The Record from boygenius, World Radio Music by Jon Batiste, and Did You Know There Was a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd by Del Rey.”

It was a big night for women, with artistes like SZA, Mylie Cryus and Billie Eilish taking home awards.

 It was a big night for women, with artistes like SZA, Mylie Cryus and Billie Eilish taking home awards [Courtesy, Getty]

The Los Angeles show was dominated by women, with R&B stars SZA and Victoria Monét and all-female indie supergroup Boygenius picking up multiple awards, and music icons Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell giving rare and poignant performances, as reported by BBC Entertainment.

Record Of The Year went to Mylie Cyrus for Flowers, a pop, rock-infused track taken from her eighth studio album, Endless Summer Vacation (2023). The song also picked up the Best Pop Vocal performance award.

Billie Eilish won the Song of The Year award for What Was I Made For? While Victoria Monét won the Best New Artiste Award. Monét also won Best RnB album after coming up against RnB bigwigs Baby Face, Summer Walker, Coco Jones and Emily King.

BBC Entertainment reports: “SZA led the nominations with nine, and ended up with three prizes. She also performed at the ceremony, staging a recreation of the Crazy 88 fight scene from Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill to accompany her hit of the same name, which was named best R&B song.”

Killer Mike took home the Best Rap album for Michael, beating out Drake and 21 Savage (Her Loss), Metro Boomin (Heroes & Villains), Nas (King’s Disease III) and Travis Scott (Utopia).

African artistes who have won Grammys in the past include Miriam Makeba (South Africa), Sade (Nigeria/UK), Ali Farka Touré (Mali), Angélique Kidjo (Benin/France), Black Coffee (South Africa) and Burna Boy(Nigeria) among others.

“The 66th GRAMMY Awards is far from the first time Africans have been honored during Music's Biggest Night. African musicians have been taking home golden gramophones since the 1960s, when South African Miriam Makeba won Best Folk Album for her duo with Harry Belafonte,” a report on The Grammy’s website reads in part.

It adds: “Since then, desert blues bands from the Sahara, extraordinary singers from Senegal and Cape Verde, pop divas from Nigeria and Benin, and a superstar DJ from South Africa have earned trophies in various categories.”


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